The Magic of Harry Potter is coming to Leeds Central Library

Collections Manager, Rhian Isaac, talks about the upcoming Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition and programme of events in anticipation of the launch in December.

It is 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published and we are extremely excited to be bringing the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of Harry Potter to Leeds in our History of Magic exhibition and programme of events in partnership with the British Library.

Today the British Library launches its much anticipated Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition so what better time to announce the programme of events that will accompany our very own exhibition in December. We will also be unveiling today the beautiful British Library display that gives a fascinating background to the history of magic and that will hopefully whet your appetites for the magical experience that will fill Room 700 in the lead up to Christmas.

Delving into the depths of our collections we have found books that would not look out of place in a Hogwarts classroom – treatises on witchcraft and demons, accounts of fantastic creatures and illustrations of plants with powerful magical properties. These books, dating from the 16th century, capture some of the beliefs surrounding the supernatural throughout different times in history and demonstrate amazing real life examples of the magical elements found in the Harry Potter stories.

Edward Topsell, The Historie of Foure Footed Beastes, 1607. One of the books featuring fantastic creatures that will be on display.

The exhibition will be divided into the different subjects in the Hogwarts curriculum – Astronomy, Defence against the Dark Arts, Potions and Alchemy, Charms and Divination and Care of Magical Creatures which will be illustrated with the items found in our collections. Because of our extensive botanical collection we wanted to do something special for the subject of Herbology that will, to quote Snape in Harry Potter’s first potion’s class, ‘ensnare the senses’ and have commissioned The Plant Room to create a magical experience that will immerse visitors in a world of potions and plants.

John Gerard, The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, 1597. In Harry Potter the Mandrake’s cry is fatal to anyone who hears it.

The exhibition won’t just include books, there will be fascinating artefacts loaned from Leeds Museums and Galleries and our History of Magic programme has a range of exciting events for all ages.  Whether you are a Harry Potter fan or are more interested in the historical side of magic we are sure that you will find something to enjoy over the coming months.

We will be launching the exhibition on Sunday 3 December with a family friendly day full of magical activities and stalls of unusual items.

Visit our ticketsource page to start booking on any of the other events and workshops that you are interested in. More events will be confirmed over the coming weeks and the full list can be found on the Harry Potter: A History of Magic page on this blog.

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